1 The opening of the Burj Khalifa: The 828m-beast finally opened on January 4, and it was only 10 short months before vertically-challenged star Tom Cruise was spotted sitting atop the spire while shooting Mission Impossible IV.
(04 888 8888).
2 The opening of Mirdif City Centre: A staggering 76,000 people trekked to the new mall on March 16, its first day; by April, more than a million had checked it out. Attractions include the emirate’s first public indoor skydiving centre and Dubai’s first Pottery Barn store.
(04 602 3000).
3 Sammy the whale shark’s release: After an 18-month campaign by the region’s environmentalists, bloggers and social networking groups, Atlantis resident (read: hostage) Sammy was finally returned to the ocean at the beginning of March.
4 The first World Cup at Meydan: The new racecourse and adjoining 1km-long five-star hotel were completed just in time for the start of the World Cup on March 27. Spectators can now get far closer to the tracks and all the action, and there’s also a sprawling free area.
(04 327 2110).
5 Elton John performed on the track: It wasn’t all horses and hats at the World Cup. The 63-year-old legendary showman headlined the event’s string of star-studded concerts, thrilling the crowd with extended renditions of hits including ‘Rocket Man’, backed by a screen showing groovy psychedelic animations.
7 Trilogy reopened: After a two-year hiatus, Madinat club Trilogy reopened on September 23. The relaunch event didn’t disappoint, with a stellar set (and silver hairdo) from DJ and producer Mark Ronson.
(04 336 6917).
8 The footballers hid out here: After several English players found themselves in bother (naming no names, Peter Crouch and Wayne Rooney), the two subsequently holed up in Le Royal Méridien and the Burj al Arab, paps in tow, during October. Not together, mind.
9 Bryan Adams’ gig: ‘It’s going to be a great show!’ Bryan Adams told us before his gig at Dubai World Trade Centre on December 17, and he was right – his live rendition of ‘Summer of ’69’ was one of the year’s musical highlights.
10 ‘New Dubai’ boomed: After watching rents climb for the past four years, many residents took advantage of the 30 per cent drop by upping sticks and finding new digs while the paint was still drying on the new Dubai Marina high-rises.